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HealthPartners and Avera introduce new health plan option for small employers in southwest Minnesota

HealthPartners Cornerstone plan for small employers builds on the successful launch of a similar plan for large employers and combines a high-quality care network with lower costs

October 3, 2022

Bloomington, Minn. — HealthPartners today announced that small employers in nine southwestern Minnesota counties will have access to a new high-value health plan option called Cornerstone.

The plan is modeled after a similar option for large employers that launched earlier this year. Cornerstone is centered around Avera and includes Avera’s facilities and partners, Access Health and Pipestone County Medical Center Avera. By integrating local care delivery with medical and pharmacy benefits and high-touch customer service, Cornerstone achieves more efficient care coordination, supports better health outcomes and provides small employers up to 11% savings compared to other plans in the area.

“If you run a small business, offering high-quality health insurance can help attract and retain employees, and it can help keep employees healthy and productive,” said Julie Bunde, vice president of product and market innovations with HealthPartners. “Our Cornerstone option for small employers with fewer than 50 employees makes local care simple and affordable, and still maintains in-network access to care when employees might be traveling.”

In addition to the regional Avera network, Cornerstone provides in-network coverage to more than one million providers and 6,300 hospitals nationwide, as well as in-network telehealth coverage, including Virtuwell® and Doctor On Demand. The plan also includes digital health activities, healthy discounts, and online resources to better manage physical and mental health. HealthPartners is rated 4.5 out of 5 in the National Committee for Quality Assurance’s 2022 commercial Health Plan Ratings, making it one of the top-rated health plans in Minnesota and among the highest-rated plans in the nation.

HealthPartners and Avera Health started offering the Cornerstone health plan option for large employers in July. Since then, several organizations have started offering it to their employees including Pipestone Area Schools, Canby Area Schools and RTR School District 2902.

“By making Cornerstone available to small employers, in addition to large employers, we’re giving our communities more choice in their health care experiences,” said Debbie Streier, regional president and CEO of Avera Marshall Regional Medical Center. “We’re aligning care and coverage in a way that makes care affordable and supports the health and well-being of those we serve.”

About HealthPartners

HealthPartners is an integrated health system, providing care to more than one million patients and coverage to more than 1.8 million medical and dental health plan members nationwide. HealthPartners also provides medical education and conducts research through its HealthPartners Institute.

HealthPartners received the highest score in Minnesota/Wisconsin Region in the J.D. Power 2018-2021 U.S. Commercial Member Health Plan Satisfaction Studies of customers’ satisfaction with their commercial health plan. Visit

About Avera Health

The Avera Health system has over 20,000 employees and physicians, serving more than 300 locations and 100 communities in a five-state region. Our ministry, our people and our superior value distinguish Avera. We carry on the health care legacy of the Benedictine and Presentation Sisters, delivering care in an environment guided by our values of compassion, hospitality and stewardship. For more information about Avera, visit our website at

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